Zoning, police salaries top Bolivar Council agenda

Zoning, police salaries top Bolivar Council agenda

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

At its June 6 meeting, Bolivar Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would change current zoning regarding recreational vehicles, boats and utility trailers parked on private property. Planning commission chair Will Bellinger said an old ordinance is in place stating residents may not park or store such vehicles in driveways, on lawns or anywhere else on their property.

Proposed legislation would allow residents to park two RVs, utility trailers or boats on their property with certain restrictions including no parking in front yards or side yards with the exception of side driveways or for loading or unloading within 48 hours. A schedule of potential fines was outlined for council, along with the potential for legal action for not cooperating.

According to Bellinger, the commission’s intention is to do away with the old ordinance, which was not being enforced, and to draft more reasonable legislation with a method of enforcing it. Residents also will be allowed to apply for variances if needed.

Police salaries addressed

Council approved placing a police levy on the ballot this fall. The replacement levy would increase from 2 mils to 4 mils and generate approximately $72,000.

At issue is the police salaries currently are being paid out of the general fund, which, according to Mayor Tim Lang and finance committee chair Will Bellinger, is a two-fold problem. Using money from the general fund takes away from other village projects, and village police salaries are too low, which is causing too much turnover in the department.

Council discussed potential solutions such as allocating the salary formerly paid to a part-time officer who resigned to the two officers remaining. Bellinger also presented a solution that would reduce the number of days police are on duty in the village.

Resident Michela Huth voiced concern about paying a part-time summer worker $12 when police are only getting paid approximately $16 an hour and that Kyle Porter makes more money than the police as street superintendent and zoning inspector. Porter’s pay was raised in February to $20.38 per hour.

Bellinger said he agreed low police salaries are a problem. He asked council to consider solutions and to finalize an approach in July.

Mayor’s report

Lang had several resignations to report. Council voted to accept the resignations of fiscal officer Krystal Christensen, who has accepted a position as human resources director for the National Guard; assistant fiscal officer Patty Smith; and Police Sgt. Jeff Stearns, who has accepted a position with the Sugarcreek Police Department.

Lang then temporarily appointed and council approved Matt Judy, village administrator, as interim fiscal officer, extending his hours to 30 per week until another can be hired. Council also approved advertising expenditures of up to $1,000 to seek a new fiscal officer. Resumes will be accepted until the end of June and can be emailed to mayor@villageofbolivar.com or dropped off at the village offices at 109 N. Canal St.

Council also approved Lang’s recommendation to hire Wyatt Jones as a part-time summer worker at $12 per hour for 24 hours per week.

Public comments

Mark Goudy, representing St. John’s United Church of Christ on Park Avenue, asked if the two water lines there could be combined so the church would receive just one water bill.

Porter said he will look into combining the lines. Lang said council is holding a work session to try to iron out problems such as this on June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Resident Ann Strauss said a noise study is now being conducted to determine whether ODOT will agree to erect a noise barrier along I-77.

Resident Chris Berens said the committee established to participate in the Love Tusc Sculpture Tour headed by the Tuscarawas Arts Partnership is in need of funds. The funds would be used to build a small park across from town hall that will be the setting for a village statue. Berens said she has applied for grants but asked for council’s help financially, should no funds be granted.

In other business

Council approved the following expenditures as requested by Bellinger:

—Up to $1,000 to cover repairs and purchase tires for the police department’s Ford Explorer.

—$750 to rent a lift to remove the light pole in the Cherry Street parking lot, if needed.

—Contract with Stacey Spillman or visiting clerk at $30 for assistance with fiscal officer duties for six weeks.

—$599 for a power washer.

—$2,800 for gravel for the Canal Street rear parking lot.

Council also voted to accept a $1,000 donation toward the cost from Rich Dotts, co-owner of the Towpath Tavern.

Council also approved issuing permits allowing advertising signs to be placed at the intersection of Park Avenue and state Route 212 to Bolivar, Main Street Association for the Strawberry Festival and the car show, and Ragon House for its current sale and upcoming fall sale.

Ordinances approved

—Lawrence Township/Bolivar/Zoar contract with the Bolivar Volunteer Fire Department for fire and EMS service for 2022. Council had approved a draft version in April, but since then, some language was changed.

—Designating parking on Tuscarawas Street as handicapped parking during the Strawberry Festival only.

—Changing police officer Eric Minor’s position from part-time to full-time at a rate of $16.50 per hour (Bellinger abstaining).

—Contracting with Barbicas Construction of Akron for $65,300 for paving to include portions of Strawberry, Eberly, Pleasant and Lovers alleys and Walnut Street from Canal Street to Poplar Street.

Due to the holiday, the next meeting will be Tuesday, July 5 at 7 p.m. in council chambers, 108 Canal St. NE, Bolivar.